The Lady in the Mask
The story was all over the news. A beautiful young woman, married only a few months had been suffering terribly at the hands of her husband. He was an aggressive drunkard and during one of his fits of temper he had cut both of her cheeks, ear to ear, with a pair of scissors. Left hideously disfigured by this, the woman had taken to wearing a surgical mask, as many in Japan do to protect against pollution, to hide her once beautiful face. A few weeks later, during another episode of violence, the husband left her dead in their apartment.
Shortly after this, rumours began to circulate in Osaka that people walking alone at night would be approached by a woman in surgical mask who would ask them a question: “Am I beautiful?”
If the man replied yes, the woman would remove her mask, revealing gaping gashes, dripping with blood, either side of her mouth from ear to ear.
“Am I still beautiful?” she would then ask the horrified person. If they replied no, she would take out a pair of scissors and stab them to death. If the answer was yes, she would cut their face with the scissors, giving them a wound like her own.
According to the urban legend, the only way to avoid death or mutilation is to avoid answering her question by instead asking her “What about me? Am I beautiful/handsome?”
Confronted with a question, she would become confused and puzzle over what to do, giving her intended victim time to escape.